Studying full-time and trying to pay off your debt can be a real struggle. Many students can only work a limited number of hours due to their study, which means that things can be tight.
At a time when your income is likely to be at its lowest, putting things on credit can be tempting, especially if your plan is to pay it off once you finish your study and start your new career.
If you’re a student, don’t bury your head in the sand – the habits you put in place now are important.
Here are Easy Street’s top tips to help you get on top of your finances and put in place some healthy habits that will benefit you both now as a student, and throughout your life.
Spend less than you earn
This is a no brainer, but more people struggle with this than what you think. It’s important to learn how to budget, how to live off less and stop the habit of relying on credit. Learning to live off less means re-thinking where you shop, what you eat and knowing where your money goes. Here are two important tips:
- Borrow as little as possible for your car – after all, your car will only depreciate, and you can free up a lot of money when you don’t have a car loan which you can use to save for something else, pay off debt or help with living expenses.
- Looks can be deceiving – don’t compare yourself or your situation to someone driving a nicer car or spending money on nicer things– for all you know, they are they are just in a lot of debt which is not a situation to be envious of.
Pay off your most expensive debt first
If you’ve gotten yourself into debt, you need a plan to help yourself out of it. And usually, the best place to start is by paying down the loan with the highest interest rate first because this is the one that’s costing you the most.
For many people, this will be their credit card or store credit with an expired interest free period. Meeting the minimum repayments might keep you out of trouble but they won’t help you pay it off any time soon. Did you know that if you had a credit card owing $3,000 with a rate of 15%, it’d take you over 18 years to pay it off if you only made the minimum repayments? As a student, it’s a good idea to avoid having a credit card altogether as the temptation can be too great for those times when you are short of cash.
If you need help getting out of credit card debt, consider moving your debt to a personal loan such as Easy Street’s low rate personal loan. The loan can be used for a wide range of purposes and it can help you pay off your debt in a shorter time without the temptation of re-spending what you’ve already paid back. Plus, you can consolidate any other debts you have in to the one loan to save on interest and make life more manageable with just one easy payment to make.
Tackle your finances head on instead of avoiding them. Get in to the habit now of tracking what you spend and where it goes so you understand what you can change. Perhaps you didn’t realise you were spending so much on one thing. Be clear on what is important to you and make sure that some of your money is going towards that, no matter how small.
Each time you get paid, pay off some extra of any debts before you have the chance to spend any of your money. Every dollar counts. You can also set up an automatic transfer so you won’t even know you had the money in the first place. Once you have paid off your debt, you can start saving so that one day you can buy a new car, go on a holiday or even buy a house.
Easy Street’s budget planner can help: https://www.easystreet.com.au/budget-planner. To help you stay on top of your spending and saving, Easy Street also offers free account SMS and email alerts to notify you when money moves in or out of your account, or when your account reaches a certain high or low limit.
Get on track today
The faster you are able to take control back, the sooner you’ll be on a better financial pathway. To find out more about any of Easy Street’s products or services, visit Easy Street.
Credit eligibility criteria, terms & conditions, fees & charges apply. Terms and conditions, fees and charges apply – details available on application. *Rates are current as at 20/06/16 and are subject to change without notice. *Comparison rate is calculated on an unsecured loan amount of $30,000 over 5 years. WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.
This information is general advice only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs (your “personal circumstances”). Please consider if this information is right for you before making a decision to acquire any product. Easy Street Financial Services is a division of Community First Credit Union Limited ABN 80 087 649 938 | AFSL and Australian credit licence 231204.